Honeymoon - Parts 2 and 3
Rob organised another effortless journey to Langkawi on Christmas Day. Emma's heart dipped a little on landing as rain splattered the plane windows, the runway shone with puddles and complimentary brollies were proffered on disembarking the plane. However, it was a lush, warm night and the taxi driver assured us it doesn't usually rain and from the next morning it was hot, sunny and absolutely gorgeous. We'd never heard of Langkawi. It's an archipelago at the top left of Malaysia and we stayed at a resort set in rainforest leading down to a lovely beach. It's gorgeous and in fact, we did the classic Brit thing of overdoing the midday sun, getting sunstroke and sunburn and having to have day two in the shade reading. Emma is peeling now. Always a sign of a good holiday. Very excitingly, the chap who checked us in warned us about the monkeys! Apparently, you must lock your doors and windows lest they let themselves in and ransack the room. One "cheeky monkey" (actually a bad-tempered, red-haired blighter) thudded around on the roof and then came onto our balcony before sidling up to the window and slapping the glass mere millimeters from us before grimacing in rage and departing over the balustrade. Other, sweet little grey ones with white circles round their eyes sat peacefully in the jungle garden and picked at themselves, one another, and the leaves. Accommodation was a hilliside array of log cabins with a shuttle running us back and forth throughout the resort and a view of the sea through the lush undergrowth. Both flora and fauna were abundant: our least favourite specimin became known among ourselves as the "smoke alarm bird". I can't imagine a lady smoke alarm bird could possibly have found its call alluring. The jungle's a helluva noisy old place! It's more deafening than Piccadilly Circus on a Friday evening. Truly, the cidadas, the smoke alarm bird, the crickets and all the rest of it precluded any idea of a quiet or peaceful evening drink. You could only get away from the noise by putting your head under water.
We would both go back to Langkawi in a heartbeat. There's tons to do there but we stayed in the resort vegging and reading before returning to a slightly rainy Singapore for the next stage of our adventure.
Rob found this amazing place called Sentosa. It's an island just off the south of the Singapore peninsula which was made into a leisure island a few decades ago. We stayed at a most beautiful hotel which was luxurious and fabulous in a completely different way to Raffles. Where Raffles is old style glamour, the Sentosa Resort and Spa was sleek and modern. It was like a cross between a Roman Villa and a Japanese paper house. The Singaporeans are very into Feng Shui and this hotel certainly had a harmonious air about it. It was built around beautiful infinity pools, stone and jungle gardens, with lots of open walls, shiny surfaces, subtle lighting and even subtler staff. We had just over two days here and used the first day to continue with our exploring. Bugis Street is touted as a real tourist destination but is a tatty version of Camden market. We went to Little India which was literally like walking into India with honking horns, jaywalking and all those things you don't get in Singapore. Amazing. We ate a fabulous lunch at a canteen-style cafe before making our way to the best emporium ever - Mustafa's. This is a cross between Lidl, Wilkinsons, Poundland and every other downmarket shop you can imagine, but all under one enormous roof. Emma got some fake Crocs, a sparkling clutchbag and a stamp saying "untidy". We went on an epic journey using two tubes and a bus to the Night Safari. This is at the Singapore Zoo where, after the sun goes down (dead on 7pm) and the jungle starts making its infernal noise, you either walk round some pre-designated trails or catch a tram round the whole thing. It was fabulous. As the tram makes its way through the zoo you see elephants, giraffes, bison, leopards and lions - all the things you'd see on an African safari, but Asian versions. We saw an Asian rhino and some horrid hyenas - I know they're all God's little creatures but there's something really ghastly about hyenas - and some pigs with beards on their cheeks. We saw a flying squirrel which flung itself off the top of a lampost over to another lampost right above our heads. It's reddish and when its "wings" are open it's almost completely rectangular. It looked like a piece of fake fur with a head on one edge.
A question: why DID all these animals stand under spotlights right next to the tramway? Rob thought maybe their food was left there to encourage them into the light, but I (Emma) thinks this would make their meal time a long one at 7pm until midnight. I hope I'm wrong but I fear they might have been nailed to the ground in the correct position. Anyway, Night Safari was great but we'd skip the tram ride and just do the trails next time.
We spent the last day lounging by the pool and ordering morsels from the attendant (God I could soooooooooooooooooo get used to this) before leaving for L ondon on Tuesday evening (30th Dec). This journey was one of the most keenly anticipated parts of the whole holiday: first class on BA. We arrived in the First Class Lounge at Changi airport to find a man having a shouting argument with some other passengers about the tearaway behaviour of his children. A diplomatic manager turned up to quell tempers. Then the family next to us started to argue too. The lounge was a paean to beige seventies splendour complete with smoked glass windows. It was great but not as lovely as the Business Class lounge at Heathrow (good grief: is that Emma praising something to do with the UK??). We managed to stuff ourselves and get pissed before embarking and settling into our pods. First class means never queuing for anything, orchids in the loos, wardrobes for the coats, pyjamas to change into and restaurant-class dining in your pod. It was Ah. Maze. Ing. But not worth the money it would have cost in cold hard cash, to be honest. It's been the holiday of a lifetime from start to finish with not a single dud moment. We're both thoroughly spoiled.